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   Technology StocksSmartphones, Tablets, Wearables and Gadgets

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From: FJB4/30/2018 6:20:43 AM
1 Recommendation   of 3027
T-Mobile, Sprint announce merger; combined company valued at USD146bn
30 Apr 2018
United States

T-Mobile US and Sprint Corporation have entered into a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction at a fixed exchange ratio of 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share or the equivalent of 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile US share. Based on closing share prices on 27 April, this represents a total implied enterprise value of approximately USD59 billion for Sprint and approximately USD146 billion for the combined company.

The combined company will be named T-Mobile, and it will be headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, with a second headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas. John Legere, current President and CEO of T-Mobile US will serve as CEO, and Mike Sievert, current COO of T-Mobile, will serve as President and COO of the combined company. The remaining members of the new management team will be selected from both companies during the closing period. Tim Hottges, current T-Mobile US Chairman of the Board, will serve as Chairman of the Board for the new company. Masayoshi Son, current SoftBank Group Corp Chairman and CEO, and Marcelo Claure, current CEO of Sprint, will serve on the board of the new company.

Mr Legere commented: ‘This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience – and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own. As industry lines blur and we enter the 5G era, consumers and businesses need a company with the disruptive culture and capabilities to force positive change on their behalf.’

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From: FJB6/9/2018 11:36:36 AM
1 Recommendation   of 3027

Is the $15 a month Sprint unlimited deal that good? We surveyed the competition. Nothing comes close.

Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY Published 9:00 a.m. ET June 9, 2018 | Updated 10:12 a.m. ET June 9, 2018

Both network carriers say this is a way to stay competitive in the race to have the fastest 5G network. If approved, Sprint will be absorbed into T-Mobile. USA TODAY

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — The average monthly unlimited rate for a family plan from the big carriers starts at around $100, so a lot of heads turned this week when Sprint had a better offer: $60 for a family plan, or $15 for one line.

The pricing is so unprecedented — $15 a line, that it warrants a look at what else you can get from the competition for $15 to $20. (Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T charge $160 monthly for their family plans, although T-Mobile has military and senior discount plans available at $40 per line.)

Rick Broida, who writes the Cheapskate column for CNET, calls Sprint's offer "amazing," and unlike any he's seen from a major carrier before. "For someone looking to get service on the cheap, this is unheard of."

But there are limitations, namely that it's on the Sprint network, which is historically weaker than competitors—one reason that Sprint and No. 3 carrier T-Mobile have proposed merging. And the deal is for a limited time, although Sprint hasn't specified dates.

Looking for alternatives? Here's what else is out there.

FreedomPop also has a $15 unlimited monthly plan, but details are sketchy. Called "Unreal Mobile," it will be available by the end of June, with unlimited talk, text and data, but only some of that will be high-speed data. CNET reported that it will be just 1 GB of high speed data, but FreedomPop CEO Stephen Sokols told USA TODAY it will be way more and "competitive," with Sprint. He says he will release more details when the plan launches.

FreedomPop, which also offers a free service of talk, text and data (500 minutes, 200 texts, 500 megabytes of data) has been dogged by complaints about its customer service online. Sokols admits its service has "historically been poor," but he's invested in recent months to get it up to speed. He adds that subscribers to what's considered FreedomPop's "premium" service will be able to reach human beings with customer issues.

Wireless service for Unreal will be provided by Sprint and AT&T, and customers are encouraged to bring their phones, or to buy low-cost phones from FreedomPop, with what Sokols says will be as low as $50.

TextNow. Like FreedomPop, TextNow also has a free, Wi-Fi-only plan for free calls and texts. But you'll need a new phone number for the service TextNow provides. For $19.99, you can get unlimited talk and texts, and just 2 GB of data. This might work for you if you use your phone in Wi-Fi most of the time, like at work or school, but in the field, those YouTube videos, Facebook messages and constant looks at e-mail will eat up fast.

MintMobile. The $15 deal will get you unlimited talk and text, and 2 GB of data per month. To get the $15 rate, you need to commit to multi-month pricing.

Republic Wireless. Here you'll pay $25 for unlimited talk, text and 2 GB of data. Add $5 for each extra 1 GB of data.

Virgin Mobile. If you're interested in a great short-term rate, Virgin offers $1 monthly, but only for 6 months. The unlimited talk, text and data then goes to $50 monthly. A year's service would cost you just over $300, a good deal more than 12 months with Sprint at $180.

All three a virtual tie, but each had questions they couldn't answer. Tune in to find out where Apple, Google and Amazon fell down. USA TODAY

In other tech news this week. For your talking TV: Amazon and Sonos both introduced new devices this week to turn you into the remote control. Amazon's Cube is the Echo speaker for TVs, a streaming player with no physical remote control. Designed for the TV, the $89 device lets you operate the TV with your voice, and play music as well. The Sonos Beam is a compact $399 sound bar for bringing better sound to the TV, and letting you operate it via voice as well.

The iOS12 update. At the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple previewed iOS12, the mobile operating system update that will be released in the fall. Key features include parental controls and notifications when websites like Facebook are snooping on you. What it didn't do is use the WWDC to announce an overhaul of Siri, the Apple personal assistant that has fallen behind Alexa and Google in terms of smarts.

BlackBerry keeps trying. The Key2 is the latest attempt from the veteran wireless company to revive its brand. The $649 phone sports a physical Qwerty keyboard, industrial-strength security and long battery life.

Goodbye Yahoo Messenger. Oath, the company that now owns Yahoo, shut down Yahoo Messenger, one of the earliest instant messenger platforms Friday. Earlier it also said goodbye to the even older AIM from AOL.

Which has better music smarts, Siri, Alexa or Google? We posed 40 questions, and a bonus round of 10 for songs based on lyrics. Click here to find out which is best.

This week's Talking Tech podcasts Sonos, we love you. We lay out our reasons why the Sonos One is hands down the best buy for anyone who loves music and is interested in a connected speaker.

Apple iOS12 update. The latest from the WWDC.

Why Apple wants Facebook to stop tracking you. New security tools coming in iOS12 and macOS Mojave.

Can we really kick tech addiction? USA TODAY's Edward C. Baig joins me to weigh in.

All about the Bird: Why we think the Bird scooter, and the technology that operates it, makes it hands down the coolest gadget of 2018, so far.

Alexa, change the channel. A preview of new products from Amazon and Sonos to change the channel with our voices.

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To: bigBarry who wrote (2968)6/19/2018 7:13:43 PM
From: SI Dmitry (code monkey)
   of 3027
Shortest Membership that we've ever had.

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From: FJB7/7/2018 9:17:08 AM
   of 3027
Future phones: foldable like a napkin, with up to nine cameras and able to charge over thin air

Smartphone bodies haven’t changed that much in the past few years – the iPhone 8 isn’t much different to the iPhone 6 – but they’re about to. These are some of the major hardware changes coming in the near future

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 July, 2018, 10:33am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 July, 2018, 10:32am

Your next smartphone might be just a little different. Picture this: you pull your phone out of your pocket and unfold it like a napkin into a tablet. You press your finger on the screen, and it unlocks. You switch to the camera app, and a spiderlike array of lenses shoot simultaneously to capture one giant photo.

video @ link

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From: FJB8/9/2018 11:44:21 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3027
Samsung announces Galaxy Note9, shipping August 24, with a 6.4" display, Snapdragon 845, 4,000mAh battery, dual rear cameras, DeX, 128GB/512GB storage for $950+ — After months of rampant speculation (and plenty of leaks and rumors), it's finally here: the Samsung Galaxy Note9 …

More: CNET, CNET, Android Police, The Verge, eWeek, 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, Samsung Global Newsroom, Samsung Newsroom, New York Times, SiliconANGLE, Softpedia News, PCWorld, Tom's Guide, TechCrunch, Mashable, The Tech Report, XDA Developers, Gotta Be Mobile, The Guardian, MacRumors, VentureBeat, iPhone in Canada Blog, MobileSyrup, The Next Web, Ars Technica, ZDNet, AnandTech, PC Gamer, Engadget, Laptop Mag, IGN, The Verge, ZDNet, Digital Trends, Business Insider, Wall Street Journal, Android Police, Android Police,, CNBC, Wired, Mashable, The Verge, TechCrunch, Engadget, Engadget, TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 9to5Google, and Engadget

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From: FJB8/22/2018 3:28:46 PM
1 Recommendation   of 3027

Xiaomi’s new Pocophone F1 undercuts rivals with a low price and high-end processor

Xiaomi has long sold devices that punch above their price class, but now the company is taking the bang for your buck even further. Poco is the company’s new budget-focused brand that will be used first in India before coming to other parts of the world. The first Pocophone device is the F1, which has flagship features, including a top-of-the-line processor, but will sell for even less than many of Xiaomi’s already aggressively priced devices.

The Pocophone F1 is packed with specs like a high-end Snapdragon 845 chip and a substantial 4,000mAh battery. It’s got a 6.18-inch 1080p display with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. There’s also a Qualcomm Adreno 630 GPU, a 20-megapixel selfie cam, and dual rear 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras. The F1 will offer all of those features and specs for just $300 when it arrives in India next week.

Jai Mani, the lead product manager for Xiaomi’s India ambitions, tells me that the company scoured Reddit forums while developing the F1, seeing users write that what they wanted were bigger batteries and a decent processor, but lamenting that “we’re geeks, no one will listen to us.” Those comments inspired the product team to incorporate the Pocophone F1’s big battery and high-end processor.

The Pocophone F1 is priced and specced competitively with the OnePlus 6, which has been very popular in India since its release. In developing markets where many tech companies like Apple face stagnating growth and growing regulation, Xiaomi continues to do well, especially in India. In Q2 2018, the company grew 106 percent year over year, selling 3.3 million units of the low-end Redmi 5A in the country and beating out the likes of Samsung, Vivo, and Oppo.

The Pocophone F1 is a much more premium offering than the Redmi 5A. The Snapdragon 845 processor is far more powerful than anything used in the Redmi line. Its display has got decent color contrast, and its max brightness setting is bright enough. Yet it uses Gorilla Glass 3, which is a part Xiaomi had handy in its supply chain. The outdated nature of the glass (we’re on Gorilla Glass 6 already) demonstrates Xiaomi’s cost-cutting methods — it used older materials to cut costs so it could spend more on other components.

Another area where the Pocophone F1 cuts corners is in the construction of the phone. The phone comes in blue, red, or black with a plastic back or in a special “Armored” edition with a rubbery Kevlar backing, which is the model we got to test out. The rubber lends the phone a cheap, toy-like quality. The front display is marred by a thick notch and it has slight bezels on the sides. Xiaomi also did not splurge for an oleophobic coating, so the Pocophone F1 picks up grease easily on the front and back, whether you’re browsing and eating a sandwich, or simply touching the phone with clean fingers.

Making phone calls, you’ll hear a slightly tinny quality to the audio, indicating that the speaker also wasn’t a priority.

Mani explained to me that Xiaomi’s thinking here is that you don’t really need a smartphone with a gorgeous all-glass body, which is fragile and needs to be covered by a phone case anyway.

If you can get past the looks of the phone, and you’re only looking for speed and performance, then the Pocophone F1 has a lot to offer. The Pocophone follows the growing trend of Asian phones, including the Meizu 15 and the Oppo R15 Pro, that have 20-megapixel selfie cameras. That’s a jump in resolution from even Apple’s iPhone X, which has a 7-megapixel front-facing cam, giving you a smoother selfie to edit on beauty apps.

The dual rear-facing cameras are less exciting with their standard specs and so is the “AI camera,” which has 25 modes for landscape, food photos, and more. In general, photos taken on the F1 come out bright and saturated, which is great for festive-looking pics, but less so for producing accurate images. I can barely see a difference between regular photos taken without the AI camera and photos taken with it — they’re slightly brighter and more colorful, but it’s such a subtle change, it doesn’t really matter.

Xiaomi also gives the Pocophone F1 several features that might appeal to gamers. It has a decent GPU and self-proclaimed liquid cooling technology designed to reduce CPU heat. It runs graphics-intensive games like PUBG Mobile smoothly and without lag.

The Pocophone F1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with a MIUI skin. It’s currently on MIUI 9.6, but will update to version 10 over the course of the next month. It has a USB Type-C charging port and it supports USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 5.0.

You can set a PIN, add a fingerprint, and use face unlock. Xiaomi has a security warning during the setup of face unlock that it’s less secure than other unlocking methods, as others can impersonate you using a photograph or similar object. Still, for what it’s worth, I tried to unlock the phone with a nearly identical image of myself as the face data I gave, and it stayed locked, so that’s one point in favor of Xiaomi’s security. The phone also stayed locked when I was wearing headphones.

Both the fingerprint sensor and face unlock work very quickly, unlocking the phone in under a second. The fingerprint sensor curiously works even if your finger is covered in fried Oreos and powdered sugar. The face unlock glitches out more often, and sometimes can’t recognize my face.
So far, the phone will not be available in the US and the company doesn’t have any concrete plans to bring it here. India will be the first market for the device, though Xiaomi says it plans to expand the Pocophone brand to its other global markets in the future. Storage options range from 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, with regional prices hovering in the $300 to $400 bracket. The 6GB/64GB model is launching in India at 20,999 rupees ($300), while the most expensive model is the 29,999-rupee ($429) “Armored Edition” with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Xiaomi has said in the past that it would like to bring its phones to the US, but it’s been years since the company first made such claims. Currently, it sells accessories like headphones and batteries in the US. Mani tells me that the company is still actively eyeing the US, wondering if price-conscious offerings would work in this market. Are there price-conscious smartphone users here, or is everyone satisfied with an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device? That’s a question Xiaomi still has to work out.

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From: FJB8/24/2018 6:39:46 AM
   of 3027

HiSilicon 7nm SoC coming soon for Huawei flagship smartphone

Cindy Yu, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES
Friday 24 August 2018

HiSilicon's Kirin 980 SoC series built using 7nm process technology is set to get ready for commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2018, and will power Huawei's next-generation flagship model dubbed the Mate 20 Pro, according to Digitimes Research.

Other SoC developers are also set to enter volume shipments of their 7nm products for smartphones in the fourth quarter. Shipments of 7nm handset application processors will account for over 18% of the overall handset AP shipments in the fourth quarter, with the proportion exceeding that for 10nm ones, Digitimes Research indicated.

The HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC is reportedly manufactured by TSMC using the foundry's 7nm FinFET process. The SoC features four Cortex-A77 cores along with four Cortex-A55, and 24-core Mali-G72 GPU. It comes with LPDDR4X DRAM memory.

The Kirin 980 SoC also employs a second-generation NPU to deliver AI and machine learning capabilities. According to Digitimes Research analyst Osiris Hu, HiSilicon along with Apple are among the companies developing AI solutions through hardware acceleration, while there is another camp focusing on the development of AI chips through software acceleration.

AI for smartphones is currently being used mainly for optimizing camera settings, Hu commented. Hu continued there is still no killer app of AI for use in smartphones. The development of AI for more attractive features will play a key role in stimulating the overall handset AP shipments, Hu said.

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To: Ken Adams who wrote (2957)8/27/2018 2:03:13 PM
From: coolme
   of 3027
I never turn off my phone. All of them worked perfectly.

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From: Lynn8/29/2018 11:54:26 PM
   of 3027
Samsung Galaxy S5 Active back firmly fitting issue: I am hoping someone has had experience with/resolved a problem I am currently facing trying to get the back securely on a new S5 Active, red, smartphone. Facing the back, the left side fits correctly and tight, but the right side slightly buckles. Getting the back on, even to this not quite right state is a struggle.

This is not the greatest photo, but you can see that it somewhat buckles up near the blue button on the side. The phone is new, just purchased from someone with a 99.7% rating from thousands of sellers on eBay. I bought it because my current S5 Active is having serious problems, confirmed by the Android expert at my local AT&T store. Since I am waiting for Samsung to release it's S9 Active [or even have to wait for an S10] the AT&T fellow, who I do trust, agreed that buying a new S5 Active from Amazon or eBay would be a good way for me to go.

I ordered a red one only so it would look different from my current S5 Active (gray). Not sure if others with red ones have had the same getting the back to fit correctly, but I would really rather find out some fix rather than send it back, for a refund or exchange, because I am concerned my current smartphone will bite the dust making it impossible for the AT&T store fellow to move things from it onto a new phone.

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To: Lynn who wrote (2979)8/30/2018 12:04:19 AM
From: FJB
   of 3027
Four years is long past time for replacement. I don't think they are meant to last that long.

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